This website, dedicated to Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (1921-1997), consists of a collection of reviews of his books and links to other pages on Freire. The books are listed in chronological order. When the book has been translated into English, the first date refers to the original publication.
The website was created by Daniel Schugurensky, Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).
Review by Barkat shah kakar (Institute for Development Studies and Practices, Pakistan)
of the Oppressed is an outstanding breakthrough from the Brazilian intellectual
and educator Paulo Freire. He wrote this book in 1960s when he was a visiting
professor at Harvard. The book comprises of four chapters.
Freire initiates his discourse by writing the rationale of the
Pedagogy of the Oppressed in which he has problematized the existing
dehumanizing processes. The rational troughs light on the intense situation in
which deterioration of the fundamental human instincts of love, creativity,
freedom and righteousness has occurred.
the first chapter Freire questions the role of human beings in the perspective
of all the religious, philosophical and epistemological point of views. He
believes that human beings are equipped with the great characteristic of
vocation. This divine property has been vanished through the oppression,
injustice, violence, and exploitation. Through these means of oppression the
oppressor snatches the humanity of the oppressed.
Freire finds oppression as a common factor, worsening the fundamental
human instincts of assertion, analysis, creativity and ingenuity.
takes serious notice of the psychological aspects of the oppression. He
discusses the dichotomous contradictions in the role of oppressed and
oppressors. The oppressed lives with a dual mentality. They are not led by their
own consciousness; rather, the consciousness of the oppressors remains always a
milestone for them. They hate the oppressors but they love the oppressing
symbols. Freire maintains that these are the oppressed that help the oppressors
in oppressing them and oppression kills the analytical and creative insight of
both of the oppressed and oppressors. That is why the oppressed do not see any
alternative role model, but the oppressors. At the same time, oppressors do not
see any option, but to control. He describes oppressors as the abnormal being,
who suffers with necrophilia, a psychological disability of loving to control
the living organisms.
the conflict of these two rival factions, both of them negates the human
characteristics: one strives to control the other, but the other is planning to
replace the prior and take hold of the oppressing phenomenon. That is why Freire
suggests the oppressed to pull out the oppressors from their subconscious.
Unless the internally dissolved image of the oppression is not vanished the
oppressed will continually maintain the oppression against them. Freire
addresses both groups to resolve their contradictions in order to humanize
themselves, and suggests that the oppressed have the task of liberating
themselves and their oppressors.
political insight is mostly developed through the successive coercion of
European colonizers at his country (Brazil) and all over the world, which
corrupted the indigenous social, political and economic systems and rendered
utmost contradictions in the native societies. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Freire has transcended the analysis of oppression in a specific context and
developed an argument that is helpful to understand oppression in a variety of
the second chapter Freire denounces the foundations of the ideological and
instrumental paradigms of the leading educational practices, which he names
"the factory schooling". In this model, learners are objectified
through through irrelevant curriculum, authoritarian attitudes of teachers, and
the imposed time and space. This particular practices produces naive, obedient,
silent, socially and politically illiterate citizens. According to Freire, the
privileged "culture of silence" in the world is due to the confused
and paradoxical messages of the academic and cultural institutions. Culture of
silence guarantees support to the existing power structure.
suggests problem-posing education through which the student can socialize their
learning and experiences for the creation of a new society. He declares
education as political act. Which according to him is like a double-edged sword,
can be experienced as a humanizing and de-humanizing tool. Education does not
mean only to describe the word. It as well is responsible in questioning how to
read the world. If it does not cater the duty of questioning the prevailing
social, political and economic realities it is something helping the oppression
of the privileged minority. He believes in the praxis, a combination of action
and reflection which leads towards emancipation.
the third chapter Freire discusses the reconstruction of the human being through
the process of conscientization and dialogue. Conscientization is a process
consisting on three major levels through which the oppressed understands the
reality of oppression and becomes active for its elimination. To humanize the
world, Freire put forwards the idealistic notion of dialogue. It is the dialogue
through which they (oppressed and oppressors) can rename their humanity and the
world. As dialogue is based on the principles of equality, humility, hope, and
mutual respect, it posses the dialectical potential of creating and re-creating
the new realities. Dialogue is a process through which human beings re-create
and reproduce their cultures, values and socio-political norms. He adds that
consciousness is not mere a matter which could be transferred from one body to
another, but it can be only proceed through a genuine process of dialogue. This
chapter as well focuses the critical relationship of people with the universe,
and on how humans can interact with the universe as responsible subjects.
the fourth and last chapter the notions of cultural action are discussed,
together with the potential of dialogue and praxis. Different dogmatic and
deterministic cultural trends of the oppressing societies are highlighted and
the role of the oppressor in creating such peculiar circumstances is unveiled. Freire describes the nature of the anti-dialogical process
and its outcomes: suppression, divide and rule, cultural invasion, corruption,
etc. Next, he describes the fruits of the dialogical interaction amongst human
beings, namely highly qualified human values such as cooperation, unity,
organization, and cultural revival. In the context of class struggle, Freire
condemns the hegemony of the leading politicians who consider themselves as the
main driving force of the revolutionary process. He says that in a revolutionary
process no one can liberate the other, but the people can release themselves
free in a joint action.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed was written three decades ago, it still opens the
windows of critique for world critics and it has generated numerous flashes of
thoughts. Different school of thought helped Freire to examine his peculiar
context, yet the totality of his book is vibrant, which works potentially as a
source of resurrection and animation of the repressing souls.